By Shamus Posted Friday Feb 24, 2006

Filed under: Video Games 11 comments

Dust off your old copy of Unreal Tournament and check this out:

Way back in the primordial ooze of 2001, I made an Unreal Tournament level that tries to create an Escher-esque world where the walls and floors are confused. Let’s take a look:

Yes, you can walk on all of the red carpet you see here. You can start on the left side of the screen, run up (or is it down?) those steps, and through the door on the right.

From here, you can run up the steps past the statue in the foreground, then run along and go “up the wall” in the distance, turn around, and go through the door in the “floor”.

Same scene as above, but from a different angle. From this viewpoint, the statue seems to be coming out of the wall.

You get the idea.

You can download the map here. Have fun. If you figure out how this is done just drop a comment.


From The Archives:

11 thoughts on “Mindbender

  1. Adam Vollmer says:

    I haven’t downloaded the map and tried it, but my ever so enlightened guess would be that you used portals. Someone made a ringworld map that was rather clever, but somewhat blocky and angular due to engine limitations. If I were to fire a rocket, would it change direction midflight?

  2. Shamus says:

    Great guess, but no. There are no portals in any of the above images. (there are a couple of portal doorways in the map, but they aren’t used to create the “Escher” effect.)

  3. Matt Round says:

    I’m guessing the whole room is tilted 45 degrees..?

  4. Shamus says:

    I'm guessing the whole room is tilted 45 degrees..?

    Yes. You are a clever man. :)

    It’s a novelty level, at best. The tilted nature makes it confusing to navigate, and the whole thing only works because you don’t have an inner-ear within the game. Still, it’s sort of amusing to try.

    For anyone having trouble picturing this: The angle of the steps (imagine the steps were ramps) is the true floor, and the other surfaces (the wall / floor) are 45 degree ramps.

  5. Will says:

    Not to ressurect a dead topic (a big forum faux pas), but I vaguely remember a similar level developed for the original Unreal. It went by the unimaginative name of The Matrix, and was basically a central sphere with about 8 spokes pointing off in all directions.
    As you passed from one “zone” to another you could see the world flip as you passed through a zone portal to realign with the new zone’s gravity. The best part was that you could still fire across the sphere and have your rockets hit where intended (no jumps in position or trajectory).
    The spokes contained all the inventory while the central sphere turned into a bloody melee as people flew back and forth trying to paint the walls with one-another’s entrails.

    There was also a small “secret” area where you encountered a bot (a Skaarj IIRC) that was retextured with the Matrix code. It was amusing.

  6. Shamus says:

    Not to ressurect a dead topic (a big forum faux pas)

    Bah. I’m always happy to see when people dig back into the archives. Makes me feel like I’m doing something right here.

    I played the matrix level once, but I just ran around by myself: I never played vs. people. It was an interesting idea, and in fact probably led to Mindbender. The “flipping” got on my nerves, and I tried many times to make a level that used portals that didn’t ruin the action or cause flipping. I never really got them to work the way I wanted, but I did come up with mindbender, which is a funny level in its own way.

  7. Will says:

    I imagine the only way to do it properly would be to increase the number of zones and portals to a ridiculous degree. Of course, that would just make it look like your framerate had dropped as the world jittered around you.

    Is Mindbender bot compatible? I’ve run into so many problems getting levels with tons of ramps to path properly.

  8. Drow64 says:


  9. Kizer says:

    So I LOVE this level, it’s really fun to play in an MC Escher drawing!

    My brain is having some trouble wrapping around one portion of the level, though, and I’d like some help understanding it.

    There’s one room with three columns and a small pool. If I run straight past the columns, up the wall, and through the door, I come to another room. If I run straight forward, over the edge of the cliff, I carry on to the otherside of the gap, and if I go through the door there, I enter the room with the three pillars again. This infinite loop is really cool, but I cannot for the life of me figure out how you built it! Other strange thing: From the door at the top of the wall (in the three-column room) I can only hear audio from one room or the other. If I am in the three pillar room, I can hear people dying in there, and I can SEE people dying in the next room. However, a rocket can explode not too far away in the next room, and I will not hear it. Why?

  10. Shamus says:

    It uses “portals” to warp you from one side of the level to the other. There are a couple of portals in the level. They are a bit tricky to get working in a multiplayer level. There are some other maps out there that use portals as well.

    Sound can’t pass through portals. Neither can hitscan weapons like the minigun. Bots do not shoot at you through the portals, either.

  11. Mechman says:

    If you like this, try out some of the maps for the first serious sam game. It supported changes in gravity, even in the same room, and there was a map made out of that Escher “crazy stairs” drawing. Grenade launcher + variable gravity = awesome.

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